Are you thinking about adding a cilantro plant to your herb garden? Luckily, we’ve compiled this extensive cilantro growing guide for all you need to know about cilantro growing conditions. First, we’ll talk about why you should grow cilantro and its benefits. Then, we’ll discuss its growing stages and growing this herb in a pot versus the garden. After, we’ll dig deeper into growing cilantro in the garden. We’ll share all its needs from sun, watering, soil, spacing, temperatures, and more. Lastly, we’ll discuss growing cilantro indoors in a pot. Then, we’ll share when and how you can harvest this plant before sharing a final growing tip.
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Why Grow Cilantro?
Are you looking to add some extra, unique flavor to your favorite recipes? Then cilantro is certainly the herb to do just that.
Cilantro has a “soapy” flavor since it tastes like lemon and pepper. However, the taste isn’t for everyone.
If you enjoy its strong flavor, then you can certainly add fresh cilantro leaves to your recipes or, on top of a meal, as a garnish. On the other hand, if you only want a hint of the flavor, then you can dry the cilantro leaves to be used in the recipe instead.
This herb can work in many dishes, but it’s most popular with Mexican, South American, Indian, and Asian cuisines.
While cilantro has a few uses, it’s also easy to grow. So, if you’re a beginner gardener, then you’ll be able to care for this herb plant well.
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Cilantro Growing Stages
Cilantro is an easy herb to grow that doesn’t take long. So, if you’re looking to harvest this herb sooner, you can certainly do so as long as it’s well cared for.
As with all plants, cilantro grows in stages. With proper care, you can expect your cilantro plant to grow in the following stages:
- Seeds will germinate in about five to ten days
- Cilantro will begin to sprout in about 22 days
- The cilantro plant will be fully mature within 45 to 70 days
On the other hand, the growth rate will be slightly different if you grow your cilantro from cuttings.
For example, the cuttings will sprout roots within two to three weeks. After that, and you plant them in the soil, you’re cilantro plant will be ready for harvest within another two to three weeks.
Growing Cilantro In A Pot Vs In Garden
This herb plant can grow well wherever you plant it. As long as it gets the sun, water, and proper soil it needs to grow, then it’ll thrive.
However, space is just as important.
For example, you can place your cilantro in the garden at least eight to ten inches apart from the other plants.
Companion planting can also be used in the garden. This is when you place similar-growing plants near each other so they can grow well together and help each other thrive.
For instance, you can place cilantro beside other plants with the same soil and watering needs.
On the other hand, since cilantro grows tall and loves the sun, you can place it in front of a short plant that prefers to have more shade. Then, your cilantro can protect the other plant from the sun for part of the day.
Growing cilantro in a pot is also a great idea. Having it in a pot allows you to move it around freely without interrupting its growth.
For example, you can put cilantro in a pot in the garden. So, you’ll still get the companion planting effects, and your cilantro will get fresh air and natural sunlight.
However, you can bring the pot inside the house when the weather turns bad, or it’s too cold for the plant.
On the other hand, you can grow your cilantro in a pot indoors all year round as long as the pot is large enough for your cilantro plant to fit.
A pot at least 12 inches deep and 18 inches wide is ideal for a cilantro plant.
Growing Conditions For Cilantro Outdoors
Of course, one of the best ways to grow cilantro is to do so outside in the garden. However, if you decide to plant it directly in your garden, there’s some strategy involved.
For example, you’ll want to place the cilantro beside similar plants for companion planting. Also, you’ll want it to be in the right position to get the amount of sun it needs.
So, let’s dig deeper into the plant’s growing conditions.
Ideal Cilantro Growing Conditions
Like any other plant, Cilantro needs the basics: sun, water, correct soil. However, it’s not always as simple as that. Also, plants have different wants and needs.
Let’s talk about the cilantro best growing conditions.
Sun Requirements for Growing Cilantro
Even though cilantro is a cold-hardy plant, it thrives in full sunlight. Therefore, you’ll want to provide this plant with at least six hours of sunlight every day.
However, make sure that the sun isn’t too hot for your cilantro plant. Otherwise, if it gets too warm, then it could burn the leaves, or your cilantro will bolt early.
Spacing Requirements for Growing Cilantro
Did you know that cilantro can grow to be about 1-1.5 feet tall and grow to be about 1-2 feet wide?
Cilantro likes to have its elbow room in the garden, so spacing is essential when deciding where to plant it.
You don’t want it running into other plants or vice versa, accidentally stunting their growth.
So, be sure to give them at least eight to ten inches of space all around them. Of course, 12 inches is ideal, but as little as eight inches is good enough.
Best Cilantro Growing Temperature
This herb prefers to grow in cooler climates. So, cilantro will thrive in temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees F.
Best Soil Conditions For Cilantro
Cilantro prefers to have soil that drains water well. So, be sure to choose soil that’s sandy or loamy in texture.
Also, the soil should have a pH level of at least 6.5 for a little bit of acidity.
Read more about the best soil for cilantro here.
When To Plant Cilantro
Since this plant prefers to grow in cooler temperatures, there are some ideal times to plant this herb.
For example, the cilantro growing season is typically early spring (after the final frost) or sometime in the fall (before the first frost) are excellent times to plant your cilantro seeds.
How To Plant Cilantro
There are two ways you can plant cilantro. First, you can plant cilantro seeds and wait for them to germinate in the soil.
To plant seeds, you can poke a hole about an inch deep and give it about an inch of water every day. After a week or two, your seeds will germinate, and your cilantro plant will begin to grow.
On the other hand, you can plant cilantro cuttings. This process is a little more involved, but if you have healthy cuttings from a cilantro plant and want to grow it sooner rather than later, you can do that.
For instance, take your cuttings and place them in a clear glass jar with about an inch of water. After about two to three weeks, roots will begin to grow.
Then, you can take the cuttings out of the jar and place them in your garden about one to two inches deep in the soil.
How Often To Water Cilantro
Believe it or not, cilantro doesn’t like to have too much water. They prefer the soil is moist but not soaked.
When planting cilantro from seeds, you’ll want to give the plant about one inch of water per day. However, once it begins to sprout, you’ll want to water it less.
For example, as the cilantro grows bigger, give it about one inch of water per week.
Be careful not to overwater or underwater your cilantro plant. You can learn more about that here.
Should You Use Spray Fertilizer On Cilantro?
You can certainly add fertilizer to your cilantro either by mixing it with the soil or spraying some onto the plant. However, this isn’t necessary.
With suitable soil, cilantro should grow well on its own. However, if you test the soil and realize the pH levels are off and there aren’t enough nutrients, you can add fertilizer.
However, fertilizer should be added sparingly. You’ll only need to give it to your cilantro plant about once a month.
Can Cilantro Survive Winter?
The short answer is yes. Cilantro plants can survive during the winter.
Remember, this is a cold-hardy herb, so they enjoy the cold. But, believe it or not, this plant can continue to grow well in temperatures as low as ten degrees F.
However, this doesn’t mean that your cilantro can grow well on its own in the middle of the winter. You’ll still need to care for it and protect it.
For example, during the winter, you can move the cilantro to a greenhouse where it’ll stay a bit warmer. Or you can replant it in a pot and bring it inside the house for the winter.
But if you keep it in its spot in the garden, you’ll want to buy DIY cold frames. This will allow your cilantro to continue to get the sun it needs while holding onto some of the warmth.
These methods are good, especially if you have harsh weather conditions during the winter, such as freezing temperatures or blizzards.
Best Growing Conditions For Cilantro Indoors
Growing cilantro indoors is very similar to growing it outside in the garden.
The soil needs are the same as is the water. So your cilantro needs well-drained, acidic soil and about one inch of water per week.
The plant still needs about six hours of sunlight, so be sure to place it in a sunny room of the house. Or, you can get a sun lamp that will mimic the sun.
When To Harvest Cilantro
Cilantro plants take about 45 to 70 days to mature fully. That’s when you know you’ll be able to harvest your plant.
However, you can begin harvesting your cilantro in as little as 22 days. When your cilantro plant is about ten to 12 inches long, that’s when you can start gathering.
Then, you can harvest your cilantro about once a week for the rest of the season.
How To Harvest Cilantro
Harvesting cilantro is simple. With a pair of sharp gardening shears, snip the stems from the top, taking as many leaves as you need to.
If you decide to do a large harvest, be sure to leave at least two inches of the stem from the base of the soil. This will allow your cilantro to continue growing.
If you see any flowers beginning to bud, you can cut those off so your cilantro will continue to grow.
On the other hand, if you see flowers budding and it’s nearing the end of the season, you can let the flowers bolt, so they produce seeds. Then, you’ll have cilantro seeds to grow next season.
Final Cilantro Growing Tips
Cilantro has a short lifespan as it’s an annual herb. Unfortunately, this means it won’t grow back the following season.
So, to ensure its full lifespan, you’ll want to prune the plant often.
For instance, give it a good trim whenever you harvest its leaves. If you notice flowers beginning to bud, snip them off to expand the plant’s lifespan.
When the season is coming to an end, you can hold onto healthy cuttings and begin growing them indoors for the next season.
Alternatively, you can allow the cilantro plant to bolt and harvest its reproduced seeds.
Final Words on the Best Cilantro Growing Conditions
Overall, cilantro is a relatively easy herb to grow, and it’s low-maintenance. Once you get its needs down pat, you can allow your cilantro plant to thrive year after year with many harvests.
Want to learn more? Click here to learn how long cilantro takes to grow and here for how to grow cilantro in water. You can find all my guides to growing cilantro here.
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